“Come here and let me tell you something.” How many times have you heard that?? When I got serious about publishing, which was in the late 90’s early 2000’s, there wasn’t a lot of readily available information. I had no idea there were publications specifically for writers and ‘how to’ guides. The best thing I knew was to send a letter to the address printed on the front matter of my favorite books.
One of the first pieces of advice I received was to find a critique or crit partner. (*gulp*, you mean, I have to let someone else read my work?) So, I found one and sent them a chapter. Annnnd . . . didn’t read their comments. Why not? Yep, you guessed it, I was terrified of what they would say.
So, I found a publisher who hosted chats on a weekly basis and joined their crit group. As I gained confidence with chatting with published authors and unpublished writers, I took the plunge and submitted a chapter to the host critique group. There I met some awesome ladies who helped me polish my writing. Yes, this time I swallowed hard and read the comments that these two ladies sent me.
They were not unkind. In fact, they greatly encouraged and praised me.
The second piece of advice I received, “Go hawt.” Or as the books call it, writing blue. Readers know it as erotic or super steamy romance, or if you’re my sister ‘Letters to Penthouse.’ I think the name of the reference books I used were: ‘How to Write Erotica’ and ‘So You Want to be a Romance Writer’. And of course, Google was and is my friend.
The third piece of advice I received was to market and build my brand. Even as a yet unpublished writer, get yourself out there. Have a catchy tagline and use it. Let readers know what you’re about, tell them what type of writer you are. I built my brand around African-American, Interracial and Multicultural romance with sub-genres in mystery/suspense, paranormal and erotic romance.
The advice I would give is based on what I’ve learned, and the advice given.
First, Do NOT read the reviews, unless you have extremely thick skin, and even then, I’d advise no. The first review I ever received was negative. The reader absolutely trashed my book. Even after all these years, I can still remember being devastated that someone could be so mean. It’s different when the criticism is constructive but when it’s downright mean, it hurts.
Second, learn as much of your craft as possible and then learn some more. Writing is an ever-changing medium and what was learned five years ago, may not pertain to now. So, keep learning and exploring. And if you find a formula that works for you, stick with it.
And the final piece of advice I’ll give is to have fun. Writing may be a solitary act, but the process is not. Enjoy the research, meet new people, revel in the newness of each character and the experience they bring to the page.
So, come on, sit down and tell me a little something and I’ll do the same.
“Indulge Your Inner Romantic”